STATE PLANT BOARD
November 1949 L-276, revised
United States Department of P riculture
Agricultural Research Administration
Hireau of entomology and Plant (iarantlne
Ir':OC'..TIOW ABOUT BEE CULTURE
Iost persons appreciate that the only source of honey and beeswax
is the honey Lbee. Few realize, however, that, although this insect in
the United States produces in excess of 200 million pounds of honey and
4 million pounds of beeswax annually, these are merely by-products, and
that its principal role is in the pollination of some 50 agricultural
crops for the production of seed and fruit, i'Thile many other insects
are of value as pollinators, their numbers have been so depleted in the
course of agricultural development that they can no longer be relied
upon. In practically all agricultural areas honey bees are novw the most
numerous flowver-visiting insects. The transfer of pollen from flower to
flower is so essential that beekeeping must be carried on to maintain a
!.any persons own bees, but not enoug'r keep bees efficiently or
make beekeeping a specialty. Efficiency in beekeepin, is based upon a
thorough knowledge of the life and behavior of b'ez, the proper use
of equipment, and careful attention to marketing problems.
This circular lists various publications giving information on bee
culture, including those issued by the Department of Agriculture and
its various agencies, State cooperative publications, and books and
journals on beekeeping. It also lists the bee supply houses and bee-
keeping organizations. In addition, the beekeeping activities of the
Department of Agriculture are outlined and a few paragraphs giving
advice to beginners in beekeeping are included. If your beekeeping
questions are not answered in this and other Department publications,
thle Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine will be glad to render
furt-er assistance. Address all inquiries to: Division of Bee Culture,
Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md.
UNITED STATES DLiTI:1T OF AGPICJLTLHL PUBLICATIONS
A limited supply of some of the following publications is available
for free distribution. However, all are obtainable by purchLase from the
Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington 25,
D. C., or can be consulted in libraries. Do not send money or any other
kind of remittance for publications to the Division of Bee Culture.
Farmers' Bulletins: Cents
961, Transferring Bees to loIdern Hives............... 5
1713, Treatment of American Foulhrood...................5
386, The 'iax Ibth and Its Control..................... 5
392, Diagnosing Bee Diseases in the Apiary.............5
554, Honey and Pollen Plants in the United States.....l**O*10
650, Factors Affecting Usefulness of Honey Bees
in Pollination . .*.** .. .. *. **............ . .******10
702, Productive IJanagement of Honey Bee Colonies
in the Northern States.........................0
656, Cost of Producing Extracted Honey in California..10
716, Investigations of the Physical and Chemical
Properties of Beeswax*........... ... ...*..**.**.5
Leaflet 113, Honey and Some of Its Uses.....................5
The following publications of the Bureau of ntomology and
Plant Quarantine are obtainable without cost from that Bureau,
i.ashington 25, D. C., or from the Division of Bee Culture.
E-297, List of Dealers in Beekeeping Supplies, Package Bees,
E-531, The Use of Pollen Traps and Pollen Supplements in
Developing Honey Bee Colonies.
E-536, The Role of Pollen in the Economy of the Hive.
E-584, The Dependence of Agriculture on the Beekeeping Industry.
E-693, Two-Queen Colony Management.
E-749, Bee-Gathered Pollen in Various Localities on the
.E-763, Tests with DDT on Honey Bees in Small Cages.
ET-250, A Manual for the Artificial Insemination of 4ieen Bees.
Other information issued by various bureaus in the .:-' it.!hert of
Agriculture is indicated below:
Semimonthly H-oney Report. This report, issued on the 1st arid 15th of
each month, gives quotations on honey, and beeswax, the co''dition
of bees and honey plants, data on imports and exports of honey,
and other pertinent information relating to the marketing of honey
and beeswax. Copies are available without cost through the Production
and Larketing Administration, 'uashington 25, D. C.
Production Statistics. Honey and Beeswax Production, 1948. Gives sta-
tistics on the number of colonies, and production of honey and
beeswax. Available without cost from the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics, WVashington 25, D. C. A report on the number of queenr, bees
and pounds of package bees shipped in 1948 is available from the
United States Standards for Grades of Extracted Honey effective
larch 15, 1943. Copies available without cost through the
Production and Larketing Administration, .iashington 25, D. C.
Organizing Honey-Marketing Cooperatives in ,artime. Farm Credit
Administration, Miscellaneous Report 79. Copies can be obtained
from the Farm Credit Administration, .Tashirngton 25, D. C.
Motion Picture Film. "The Realm of the Honey Bee." This is a four-
reel film showing the life history and behavior of the honey bee.
It is replete with close-ups of bees gathering nectar and pollen,
performing the "food dance," and driving out drones and robber bees.
It shows how bees sting, and also records a fatal encounter between
rival queens. The film closes showing how honey is removed from
the hives and prepared for market, and a few of the ways in which
honey can be used. Copies of this film in 35-millimeter width
may be purchased through the 'otion Picture Service, Office of
Information, U. S. Department of Agriculture,
Films, 30 Xockefeller Plaza, New York 20, New York.
Slidefilnm. The following slidefilms, produced for the Lepart..ent of
Agriculture, are available frorr ILoto Lab, Inc., 3825 Georgia .,ve.,
N. 1..., ..a-hington 11, D. C., at the prices indicated:
151, The Anatomy of the Honey Bee. .50 41.00
171, Diagnosis of Bee Diseases in the Apiary .55 -
346, First Lessons in Beekeepinrg. .50 -
616, Transferring Bees to :bvable-Framre Hives. .50 1.00
STATAr pLIANT BOARD.
COOPERATIVE STATE RJBULCATIONS
The following State publications, reporting investigations in
c-operation with the United States Department of Agriculture, can be
obtained from the indicated State Agricultural Experiment Station or
consulted in libraries:
Costs ana Practices in Producing Honey in Oregon, by A. S. Barrier,-
Frank E. Todd, H. A. Scullen, and .illiam W. Gorton. Oregon
Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 362. 1939.
The Distribution of California Buckeye in the Sierra Nevada in Relation
to Honey Proonction, by George H. Vansell, William G. 'Jatkins, and
L. F. Hosbrook. California Agricultural Experiment Station. 1940.
Nectar and Pollen Plants of Oregon, by H. A. Scullen and George H.
Vansell. Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, liVlletin 412. 1942.
The Beginner Beekeeper in Louisiana, by E. Oertel. Louisiana State
Department of Agriculture and Immigration. Ed. 2, 1947.
Hone Bee losses as Relaued to Crop Dusting with Arsenicals, by S. E.
McGregor, A, B. Caster, and Marvin H. Frost, Jr. Arizona Agricultural
Experiment Station, technical Bulletin 114. 1947.
Beekeeoiring near Cotton Fields Dusted with DDT, by S. E. McGregor and
C. T. Vori.ies. Agricultural Experiment Station. University of
Arizona, BulleCin .f.l 1947.
Pollen and Nectar Plants of Utah,b;, L-orge H. Vansell, Agricultural
Experiment Station. Utah State Agricultural College, Circular 124.
BEE SUPPLY HOUSES
C. *W. Aeppler Co........ ......*.............. Oconomowoc, Wis.
Dadant and Sons ............................. Hamilton, Ill.
Diamond Match Co. ...... .......... .......... Chico, Calif.
].alter T. Kelley Co. ......................... Paducah, Ky.
Leahy Manufacturing Co. ..................... Higginsville, Mo.
G. B. Lewis Co. .*...... ....... .. ..''atertown, Wis.
August Lotz Co. .............................. Boyd, 1is.
Vrc d '.' Mlath Co ........ ............... Cinci,,ati, Ohi(.
A. I. Root Cc .... ....... I.'ec.iln.0 Ohio
Williams Lrothers Larnufacturing Co*. ......... PortilcUid, Oregoi
A. G. GoooLr i Co ......................... Grand rapids, 1`tch.
but:e-iour honey Go ... .... o.. .... Ogdenr Utah anC
-oF uiiOeles, Calif.
u s i o' D.~ i E L.> p f plie 1'lc.0i1ge L'-t
cIur u I. E. t [tt. 1 P- t CU.
BOOFS ON PEEVhIIEIG
Books for sale by bep supply houses (see p. 4) and book dealers.
Prices are approximate. oome of these books may be in your public library.
Beekeeping 1anapemernt f:r oiney/ Production:
ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture (1948)......A. 1. and E. H. Root... 03.75
Beekeeping (1928)......................E. b. Phillins......... 4.00
Beekeeping in the South(1920)..........Kenrjith Hawkins........ 1.00
Dadant System of Beekeeping (1932).....C. P. Dadant........... 1.00
First Lessons in Beekeeni.g (1943).....C. P. Dadant........... 1.00
Five Hundred A.nswers to Bee Questions (1942).Geo. S. Deluth... .50
Hive and the L:oney Bee (1949)..........Roy A. Grout........... 4.00
Honey Getting (19)................... L. Sechrist......... 1.QO0
How to COcceed with Bees (1930)........ Atkins and Hawkins..... .55
Langstroth on the Hive and Honey Bee (1927).C. P. Dadant...... 2.00
Living from Bees (1946)................Prank C. Pellett....... 2.50
Outapiaries (1919).................... .. G. Dadant........... 1.00
Productive Beekeeping (1923)........... rank C. Pellett....... 3.00
Starting Right with Bees (1945)........H. G. :oive (revised by
E. H. 1Bot} ............ .75
How to Grow ,ueens (1938)...............ialter T. Kelley....... .50
Practical .ueen Rearing (1945)......... Frank C. Pellett....... 1.00
Queen Rearing Sinplified(1923).........Jay Smith.............. 1.25
Queen Rearing (1946)...................L. E. Snelgrove........ 5.00
Better Queens (1949)...................Jay Smith.............. 4.00
American Honey Plants (1947)........... Frank C. Pellett....... 2.00
Anatomy and Physiology of the Honey Bee (1925).R. E. Snodgrass 3.50
Beekeeping as a Hobby (1941)...........Kyle Onstott........... 2.00
Beekeeping for Pleasure and Profit (1943).Addison Webb........ 2.00
Bee Venom Therapy (1935)...............Bodog F. Beck (II.D.)... 5.00
City of the Bees (1949)................Frank S. Stuart........ 3.00
Golden Thronrg (1940)...................Edwin ;'ay Teale........ 5.00
History of american beekeeping (1938)..Frank C. Pellett....... 2.50
Honey and your Health (1944)...........Bodog F. Beck and
Doree Smedley.......... 3.00
Honey Plants of North America (1926)...John H. Lovell......... 1.50
Life of the Bee (1904)................. Maurice Maeterlinck.... 3.00
Mystery of the Hive (1923).............Eugene Evrard.......... 2.50
The Bee Hunter (1949)..................George Harold Edgell... 2.50
B52E J `U,1LS
The following are issued monthly at about U1 to k.'2 per year:
Amnerican Bee Journal, Hamilton, 111.
Beekeepers' Magazine, lansing, Lich.
Bees, hapeville, Ga.
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Medina, Ohio
Modern Beekeeping, Paducah, Ky.
ORGZIZATIONS IN THE BEEKSEEPIUG INDUSTRY
American Bee Breeders Association---J. F. IYcVay, Secretary-Treasurer,
iAmerican Beekeeping Federation--Glenn 0. Jones, Secretary, Atlantic,
Iowa. A national organization of beekeepers comprised of State
and county beekeepers' organizations and individual beekeepers.
Annual dues $5.00.
American Honey Institute---rs. Harriett 1. Grace, Director, Commercial
State Bank Building, Madison, Vis. kn organization sponsored and
supported by bee-supply companies, beekeepers' organizations, and
individuals. Its purpose is to give publicity to honey through
demonstrations, lectures, radio talks, honey recipes, and other
lite ratu re.
Apiary Inspectors of America---F. L. Thomas, Secretary, Texas
Agricultural Experiment Station, College Station, Tex.
Bee Industries Association---R. H. Dadant, Secretary, DIadant and Sons,
Hamilton, Illinois. Representing supply manufacturers.
Honey Bee Improvement Coooerative Association---Charles A. Reese,
Secretary, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. A non-profit
organization to promote the distribution of improved strains of
the honey bee.
National Honey Association--Frank L. Swanson, Secretary, 1028 Third
St., Council Bluffs, Iowa. representing commercial bottlers of
State Beekeepers' Organizations--A beekeepers' association exists in
practically every State. Information about such associations can
usually be obtained through your ttate Department of Agriculture
or your Agr'cultural College or E-periment Station.
Southern States Beeeepers' 1Federation---E. C. i'ansen, Secretary,
Livingston, iAla. An organization of honey producers, shippers of
package bees, and queen breeders devoted to the interest of
beekeepijg in the Southern States.
U DL A .l"i i,
:,-searci. ..'1 on kee; i.:, U. e art n o iculture
is ,'rU,lteL'd in the ivisic: of : '. Cj..'u te ljrau : o l
Plant Qiar'.l ir.:', .;.j Liv ion !1as its head uartcrs at .Lc x ultu:..1
..escirch 'enter, Beltsville, *. Jas. s Lb!t on is in cia -
Divicijn of Lee Culture ;'ir tains the follo.ir field atoies:
Ar zr na --, outliwes tern States bee Culture ILaoratory at i.rcson.
Frank E. Todd, in ch.arge. CoorLrating with the t,( icu-tural
Lxoeriment Station of the University of rizona.
California---Pacific States bee Culture Laboratory at Lvis. ueo. :.
Vansell, in charge. Cooperatin- vdith the California agriculturall
Experiment Station, the University of California, and the Orejon
Agricultural Exoeriment Station.
Louisiana---Southern States Bee Culture Laloratory, University Station
at Baton houge. Warren 1'hitcomt, Jr., in charge. Cooperz.ting with
the louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station and the University of
Ohio--,een-rearing yard on Kelley's Island, Ohio. 71. C. ioberts,
in charge. Cooperating with The Honey Bee Improvement Cooperative
2Eon---Sub-laboratory at Corvallis, Oregon. H. A. Scullen, in charge.
Cooperating with Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station and the Oregon
State Agricultural College.
W.isconsin--North Central States Bee Culture Laboratory, University of
W.7isconsin at Iadison. C. L. Farrar, in charge. Cooperating with
the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station and the University
Wyoming--Intermountain States Bee Culture Laboratory, University of
Wyoming at Laramie. A. P. Sturtevant, in charge. Cooperating with
the Vyoming Agricultural Exoeriment Station and the University of
In addition the Division of Bee Culture cooperates with the Division
of Cereal and forage Insects of the Bureau of Entomology and Plant
Quarantine; the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Enai-
neering; and State agencies in studying factors affecting the production
of legume seed, particularly those concerned with insect pollination.
The work is being done at the following field laboratories:
Ohio--Legume Seed Research Laboratory, Columbus. A. W. '.*oodrow is in
charge of the insect-pollination phases. Cooperating State agencies:
Ohio State University =nd Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station.
Utah---Legume Seed Research Laboratory, Logan. George . Dohart is
in charge of the insect-pollination phases. Cooperatir:j State a,-encies:
Utah Agricultural College and Utah agriculturall bxnerircnt Station.
Beekeeping is a specialized industry requiring fundamental knowledge
of bee behavior and a genuine liking for handling bees. Locating colonies
close to available sources of nectar is important, since to insure good
crops the bees should be within flying range, that is, within 1 or 2 miles,
of an abundance of nectar-secreting plants. Good beekeeping locations are
found in practically every State, so that the selection of apiary sites
resolves itself into choosing locations where nectar-secreting plants
occur in profusion and where living conditions are desirable.
Wiith proper experience and a liking for bees, a person in a favorable
location can obtain from beekeeping a return that compares favorably with
that from most agricultural pursuits. Beekeeping, however, can easily
become a profitless undertaking, and to avoid this we advise beginners
not to invest heavily. Practical knowledge gained through a season's work
with an experienced beekeeper should be invaluable to a beginner. If a
person cannot spend time with a beekeeper, the next best thing is to
acquire two or three colonies and do the best he can. A number of State
educational institutions offer resident or correspondence courses in bee-
A common method of starting a colony is to purchase a package of
bees, preferably 3 pounds, with a queen and to install this package in a
hive equipped with frames containing full sheets of brood foundation.
Instructions for installing usually accompany the package.
The best time to begin beekeeping with either package Le'es or established
colonies is in the spring, when fruit trees are in bloom.
If established colonies are purchased, they should be (1) in modern
hives, (2) acquired from a reliable beekeeper, and (3) accompanied by a
certificate of inspection to insure freedom from disease.
A beginner's outfit may consist of the following items, although it
is suggested that catalogs from some of the bee supply houses be consulted
for comparable information:
1 10-frame hive, consisting of: 1 3-lb. package of bees with
1 bottom board queen
2 10-frame hive bodies complete 1 smoker
with frames and brood founda- 1 bee veil
tion 1 hive tool
2 to 4 shallow supers complete 10-15 lb. of granulated sugar
with frames and thin super 4 oz. of No. 28-gage wire
foundation Spur imbedder
1 outer cover and 1 inner cover
ADVICE TO B`Gir"''L
Luch .itflits, inclu.iri a s,.,Lscri'.-i'rn to a bee jo -..l, cost
an. i'oxinately .20. 1! can e vard, and mocan WICan Lc, Lcfuued
after a person as v.cc me c: criencC, ard lL.,Vns hoL to -', lIi.
colonies. 1 1.e standard 1-fraic hive is the t, u. -... '." .. in *U.e
..h ile factory-raIdc equipriicnt ordinarily gives the VIust satisfactory
resil1ts, sor% beek re.ers rcfer to construct their own beeh( ives. I.f this
is done, it is a good 'lan to purchase or borrow a c-. lete Live to u.u
as a model. It is essential that all dinrecions be carefully .--.'---red
to; oti-ervrise the bees will build combs and add propolis where it is not
desired. Likewise careful construction is necessary so that all hive
parts are readily interc.angeatle.
The Italian bee is the hind recor.ended for the beginner in this
country. It is hardy, industrious, and fairly genitle, and can be readily
obtained in pure stock since it is the bee most corr..ory kept in the
You should consult your Agricultural College, State Department of
Agriculture, or igriaciltural S:i;erimcnt Station for information on -,tate
beekeeping publications, extension work in beeke.e p-ing, ir;i sectionn service,
good beelkeeping locations, beekce-inj association -, and the like.
CA.L'" T! POINTS TO :E LOEMuZD 1" KZLPING tL :
1. Bees need an abundant store of honey (25 or more pounds during
t4 e active season and 50 to 60 pour.ds during winter), pollen, plenty of
room for brood rearing, a source of water, protection from the wind,
and exposure to sunlight.
2. Swarming results in the loss of honey, and therefore should be
3. There should be empty comb space in the hives at all tires
orecedinS and during a honey flow,. If every cell beconeics occupied with
brood, pollen, or honey, the bees will swam or stop world ing in either
case causing a loss of honey if just before or during a flow.
4. For successful winterii g a colony should have a young queen of
h.ih-producing stock, a large cluster of young, fall-raised bees, 60 or
more pounds of sealed honey, and several combs containInj large areas
of pollen. For these requirements a colony must have a 2-story standard
hive with a gross weight, in October, of about 130 pounds.
5. It is unprofitable and, in many States, illegal to keen bees in
box hives or "gums."
6. It does not pay to cultivate any plant for bees al-n:e. '!ectar
resources ray, be i.-.roved, h-.cv.:, by plant L"h. such cr: -s a: s-weetclver
on waste lands.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 09236 7027
7. Starvation is one of the principal causes of unprofitable
eel-eepirg. If bees are short of honey stores, a syrup of two parts of
clean granulated sugar to one of water should be fed. Plan carefully
and avoid having to feed the bees by leaving them plenty of honey at all
8. Diseases of bees cause large annual losses of bees, honey, and
eauinrert. Beekeepers should learn to recognize the symptoms, particularly
of ;,merican foulbrood.
DIS. tES OF LLS
Although it is normal to find a few dead bees at the entrance of a
hive, the presence of large numbers should cause the beekeeper to examine
the colony for some abnormal condition. The presence of trembling or
paralyzed bees, or of bees crawling and apparently unable to fly, should
arouse suspicion, i'wo of the commonest abnormal conditions of adult bees
are poisoning by insecticides and Nosema disease. A laboratory diagnosis
can be trade for Nobema disease and insecticide poisoning, although at
times a diagnosis of any abnormal condition of adult bees may require
actual observation of the colony affected.
In rnany parts of the country beekeepers suffer losses from nmerican
or -z1ro-ean foulbrood, the two most serious brood diseases. European
foulbrood can be controlled by proper corrective measures, but American
foulbrood, the more serious and prevalent of the two, requires a more
drastic treatment. The bees and combs of colonies infected with American
foulbrood should be burned.
Apiary inspection is a function of the States, and is maintained by
most State Departments of Agriculture, to which should be referred all
questions concerning apiary inspection, diagnoses, and proper methods of
control. Ais a service to beekeepers, however, the Division of Bee Culture
examines, without cost, samples of brood and adult bees. iReports of
these diagnoses are sent to the beekeepers and copies to the proper State
For diagnosing brood diseases, send a sample of comb about 4 by 4
inches containing the affected brood or trood remains. Avoid including
any honey if possible. ibr diseases of adult bees, send from 100 to 200
(preferably the latter) sick or dead bees. 1'ail all samples in a wooden
or heavy cardboard box. Do not use tin. glass. or waxed paper. address
all samples to the division of Lee Culture, Agricultural Research Center,